Global tourism witnesses 260 million less international arrivals this spring compared to 2019

Published on : Friday, April 16, 2021

The UNWTO has revealed that global tourism is still suffering, with 260 million less international arrivals this spring compared to 2019.

After a tricky 2020 end, it is no surprise that global tourism encountered further setbacks at the beginning of 2021 with countries tightening travel restrictions in the wake of new virus outbreaks.

As per the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, every region around the world experienced large decline in tourist arrivals in January 2021.

The UNWTO report said, “Mandatory testing, quarantines, and in some cases the complete closure of borders, have all hindered the resumption of international travel. In addition, the speed and distribution of the vaccination roll-out have been slower than expected, further delaying the restart of tourism.”

Asia-Pacific is the worst affected region, recording the largest decrease in international arrivals in the first month of the year, with its high levels of travel restrictions still in place.

Europe and Africa both witnessed a decline of 85 per cent in arrivals, while the Middle East followed closely behind a 84 per cent dip. The Americas witnessed 77 per cent decline in spite of better results in the last quarter of 2020.
Based on current travel patterns, the UNWTO predicts international tourist arrivals to go down by 85 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of 2019.

To quote the UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili, “2020 was the worst year on record for tourism. The international community needs to take strong and urgent action to ensure a brighter 2021. Many millions of livelihoods and businesses are depending on it. Improved coordination between countries and harmonized travel and health protocols are essential to restore confidence in tourism and allow international travel to resume safely ahead of the peak summer season in the northern hemisphere.”

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